IndieRPGs.com Checks Out Dragon Fantasy: The Volumes of Westeria
I recently had the good fortune to receive a copy of Dragon Fantasy: The Volumes of Westeria, courtesy of Adam Rippon of Muteki Corporation. As is my wont, I checked out the beginning of the game while recording the experience:
So, what’d I think?
I do quite like the narrative conceit of Dragon Fantasy: we seldom get to play as older characters in this hero’s-journey-obsessed genre, and it’s refreshing to get a story about a warrior past his prime that everyone else is just sort of humoring. Somewhat like Don Quixote, he seems to have no realistic sense of his own position in the world and is determined to save the kingdom single-handedly. Curiosity about how this premise will be developed could well be sufficient to keep me playing.
And that’s good, because Dragon Fantasy is probably a little too repetitive and simplistic for me, mechanics-wise. It reminds me a lot of Dragon Warrior thus far. (For those of you not familiar, Dragon Warrior is the first game of the Dragon Quest line of jRPGs, released for the NES way back in 1986. It predates Final Fantasy, and is probably the first-ever console RPG of any note.)
Dragon Fantasy is unambitious at the start, sticking strictly to the 1-on-1 battles and grinding that characterized its classic forebear. I was somewhat bemused to be told that I had grind Ogden up a few levels before even completing the first quest, though I suppose it’s good that the game makes no bones about what you’re expected to do. Grinding is simply part of its core gameplay loop, and it wants the player to know that going in.
Dragon Fantasy does introduce some subtle but welcome improvements on the formula, however: better graphics, simulated mode 7 scaling on the world map, the ability to see (and avoid) enemy encounters in dungeons, and a cheeky sense of humor that pervades nearly all interactions in the game.
If the intent here is to make something like an early Dragon Quest title, then I think Muteki Corp. has pretty much nailed it. I suspect that the game becomes more mechanically complex as it progresses–thirty minutes in, we’ve already acquired two spells and have had some strong hints that we’re going to acquire a second party member.
Though I personally tend toward games that are more mechanically rich and less reliant on player grinding, my initial sense is that this may be just the thing for folks looking for something simple, straightforward, and charming. Those are just my first impressions, of course–as always, I need to play much more than this to form any sort of final opinion about the game.
In case you’re already convinced, Dragon Fantasy: The Volumes of Westeria is available for $9.99–more info on how to procure it here.